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Giza, August 4, 2018 (MENA) - The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) received the red granite head of the statue of King Senusret I from an antiquities' storehouse in Cairo Citadel in order to be displayed with the opening of the museum in 2019.

In a statement late Friday, GEM general supervisor Tareq Tawfiq said the head is carved from red granite and has the common artistic features found in pieces attributed to the Middle Kingdom.

The head, which was discovered in 2005 in Souq Al-Khamis at the Matriya archaeological site by an Egyptian-German mission, portrays the facial features of King Senusret I wearing a partial headdress.

The statue's royal beard, which was discovered 10 meters away from the corresponding head in 2008, was also transported to the museum.

The head, according to Ayman Ashmawy, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Section who discovered the artifact in 2005, measures 122 cm x 108cm x 75cm and weighs roughly two tons.

Eissa Zidan, general director of the First Aid Restoration Department at the GEM, said Friday that the restoration team and archaeologists used the latest technology in the packing and transportation of the head and beard, which required wooden beams to settle the objects onto a hydraulic crane for lifting.

The head and beard are now at the GEM conservation center for restoration, study, examination, analysis and documentation, while a three-dimensional imaging technique will be used to illustrate the suggested methods to re-attach the head to the beard.


CAIRO, July 31, 2018 (MENA) - Egyptologist Dr Zahi Hawass said that "Tutankhamun" Opera will be presented at the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in 2020.

GEM will exhibit the full Tutankhamun collection with many pieces to be displayed for the first time.

Tutankhamun opera is composed by Zamboni, an Italian opera librettist.

In statements on Tuesday, Hawass said the inauguration of GEM in 2020 is one of the great achievements of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who evinced an unprecedented interest in antiquities.

Hawass stressed that the reason behind writing a special opera about the life of King Tutankhamen, the Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled c. 1332–1323 BC in the conventional chronology) is the "inspiring and dramatic life story of Tutankhamun".

King Tut was the son of Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV). He ascended to the throne in 1333 BC, at the age of nine or ten, taking the throne name Nebkheperure. His wet nurse was a woman called Maia, known from her tomb at Saqqara. His teacher was most likely Sennedjem. When he became king, he married his half-sister, Ankhesenpaaten, who later changed her name to Ankhesenamun.

Hawass further noted that there was a famous opera entitled "Akhnaten", which is in three acts based on the life and religious convictions of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV).

The opera is written by the American minimalist composer Philip Glass in 1983. The libretto is by Philip Glass in association with Shalom Goldman, Robert Israel, Richard Riddell and Jerome Robbins.

Akhnaten was commissioned by Württembergische Staatstheater, Stuttgart and had its world premiere on March 24, 1984, at the Stuttgart State Theatre, under the German title "Echnaton".

CAIRO, June 23, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's Antiquities Minister Khaled el Anany said that his ministry announces in cooperation with the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry the opening of a pre-qualification stage for those hoping to manage and operate facilities at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).

The Antiquities Ministry will manage all matters related to the artifacts, its restoration center and stores besides the exhibition halls and securing them, he noted.

These remarks came by the antiquities minister on the sidelines of the tour of GEM by Premier and Housing Minister Moustafa Madboli who was also accompanied by Giza Governor Kamal el Daly on Saturday.

Anany asserted that the project of establishing GEM is financed by the Egyptian government in cooperation with its Japanese counterpart represented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

During the tour, the premier was briefed by Anany on the work progress of the venture where 78% of it have been finalized.

The first stage of the project will be inaugurated by the end of December, the minister reiterated.


Stand up for quadrilaterals!

By Simon Willis

Squares are boring and smug. They sit on the paper and believe themselves to be a cut above other two-dimensional figures. Just because they have four right angles and four equal sides does not entitle them to swagger about like American Express, Lego and… ugh!...Microsoft with their self-satisfied straight-lined selves.

As for the last-mentioned, the four coloured squares encapsulate the mission statement of that firm: square pegs in round holes. In other words, while they hold a monopoly on software we have to adapt our lives to suit the demands of clunky software products.

Until that monopoly is smashed, thus opening wider choices of product and satisfying the customer for once, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will be galloping over the Mokattam Hills, so we have to grin and bear it, just as Mr Gates has to grin and bear his earnings.

Rectangles are squares that are trying to be friendly, but they do not succeed. There are exceptions which include the logo for German Railways. The underlying message is safe, well-get-you-there without ripping you off. The BBC logo is also a rectangle, as are those of Ikea and Facebook. Otherwise, rectangles, you’re tedious and you should leave the room and leave us and irregular quadrilaterals in peace.

These four-sided figures are bits of geometry that mean fun. You can fit an irregular quadrilateral any way you wish inside a circle. Squares always end up with the intersection of their diagonals coinciding with the centre of a given circle. How original! How very uninspiring! Rectangles have their limitations, which cuts no ice with shapes made up of loci, such as our round and oval friends.

A logo with a quadrilateral says, ‘Look at me! I’m unusual but I appeal to your need to bust out of safe regularity now and again.’ If a square comes up to the bar, you ignore it. Let it buy its tap water masquerading as the mineral variety.

You wish it will hurry up and go. A rectangle friend might join it and exchange a few words about being straight and the virtues of ninety degrees. However, they are forced to turn around and watch Mr or Mrs Quad come in with their unequal sides and angles. They are ready to take on the world, spit in your eye, and order a scotch on the rocks with a spot of blackcurrant juice.

Yet, according to a report by Egyptian Streets (13 June), not everyone is happy with the newly released logo for the Grand Egyptian Museum. You see, the logo features a yellow quadrilateral.

The logo, released on Sunday under the auspices of the Minister of Antiquities and the Minister of Tourism, came under fire since critics “are angry at the graphic designers for not preserving and doing the Egyptian identity and history justice”.

Meanwhile, what puzzles me is that the design comes from abroad. Tarek Atrissi Design, a Netherlands-based graphic design studio specialising in branding, was commissioned to “develop the core branding of the new Egyptology centre in collaboration with Atelier Brückner, a German company”.

Surely, with all the artistic talent and awareness of our ancient cultural heritage, someone local could have been entrusted with the task of “branding” the Grand Egyptian Museum. Hold it there a moment. Branding.

Products and services carry a brand – something instantly recognizable that bears the mission statement it its very font and spacing. Does this mean that the Grand Egyptian Museum is merely a product? Does it offer an experience that can be captured on a thousand selfies by artefacts that visitors do not understand or want to? A quadrilateral is for life; not just for the next tourism fair in, say, Amsterdam.

The shape of the new museum building and its surrounding environment are said to be the inspiration for the logo design. Among the proposals by Atelier Brückner were designs with traditional Pharaonic icons such as amulets and pyramids, which tends towards cliché.

“However the committee chose an abstract form, supposedly to conform to marketing trends attempting to engage younger generations,” Egyptian Streets said. This means that an institution has to be promoted like cooking oil or crisps. Note also that there is an overriding need to “engage with younger generations”, despite the fact that youngsters are not interested and that elders’ efforts to “engage” them are largely ignored.

According to Tarek Tawfik, General Supervisor of the museum, the logo, “reflects the unique footprint of the Grand Egyptian Museum complex in an orange colour, conveying the warmth of the evening sun which imparts this colour to the sandy landscape before settling in the west behind the museum”. Fair comment.

“The Arabic script is intended to evoke images of the sandy dunes and peaks of Egypt whilst the simplicity of the design is on par with famous international museums such as the Louvre, the British Museum and the Metropolitan,” Mr Tawfik added.

If you really want to market the GEM, devise a computer game, involving mythical creatures revealing themselves from behind sarcophagi and blasting them as you make your way through the galleries. Score extra points by attempting to read notices telling you what you are looking at. Lose marks for laughing at the misspellings and dodgy grammar.

You could make salty quadrilateral-shaped crackers – as eaten by Tut Ankh Amoun during school break. A set of quadrilaterals could be put together to make a 3D model of the museum; pharaonic Lego, with working models of ramps to raise blocks of stone to construct pyramids.

No, no, seriously, though, I like the new logo. It’s fresh, direct and memorable, without condescension. Well done you people in the Netherlands.


GIZA, Egypt, May 5, 2018 (MENA) – Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled el Anani announced that the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will be inaugurated in 2022.

According to the set timeline, the second phase of the relevant project includes moving 54 artifacts to the new museum by July 2020, Anani told MENA on Saturday.

All the treasures and unique collectibles of King Tutankhamun will be displayed for the first time during the Grand Egyptian Museum’s partial inauguration by the end of 2018.

Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled c. 1332–1323 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom or sometimes the New Empire Period.

The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter of Tutankhamun's nearly intact tomb sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt, for which Tutankhamun's mask remains the popular symbol.


CAIRO, April 29, 2018 (MENA) – The fire which broke out outside the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on Sunday has been put out with no casualties or damage reported.

A security source said the museum's facade has not been affected by the blaze on the scaffolding outside the GEM.

Civil protection forces and fire engines rushed to the scene to contain the fire, he noted.

The GEM is currently under construction, with scaffolding positioned outside several buildings.

The prosecution ordered a probe into the incident.